Unresolved damage from childhood can hide for years, only to resurface when you least expect it. Symptoms can surface in the form of repeating the damage or in the form of what the damage caused the child to believe.
Sin as an opportunity to examine a pattern of behavior leading up to the sin. You can follow that pattern backward and find the place where things went astray. When you are able to identify the sin as a symptom of something deeper, you can begin the healing process and weaken the chances of repeating that particular sin again.
When you look at it that way, you can thank God for showing you where you need to start focusing your attention.
Adults who were abused as children navigate life with the same survival tools they learned when they were being abused. Children of alcoholics tend to be people pleasers. Children who were sexually abused can either be promiscuous or uninterested. Children of violence can become violent. Emotionally abused children can grow up to be liars. Abandoned children can grow up to be co-dependant and unable to turn away love, in whatever form it shows up.
This is not always the case, but more often than not, it is. You don’t have to be a complete train wreck to be carrying around the residual affects of a bad childhood. People can be very talented at creating a reality for everyone else to see, while they stay hidden behind the photoshopped version of themselves. They are hurting and many of them are so used to the pain, they don’t even notice it’s there. But, if you get too close, they have their way of making you back off.
When a person suffers a major breakdown in character and discovers that the root is tangled up in something they thought they had buried for good, it will mess them up. A child is more resilient, but an adult dealing with childhood issues is a trauma. It’s like going back to the scene of a crime when nobody cleaned up the blood. In order to root out the sin, they have to unbury their worst nightmare. All the healing they thought they had done was just a pathetic bandaid. They resolved to never go back to that place, so now they’re faced with a crisis.
There are many people to whom God has given the ability to walk out of a fiery childhood without the seeds of it burrowing in their flesh and dropping from their pockets as they walk away. I was not one of them, but I know some of them.
None of this is an excuse, it’s a fact. It doesn’t mean that the person isn’t responsible for their sin, it means that they are in process. When sin blooms and becomes ripe, it may be the first time that person realized it was there. If this is their time to heal, then it will be the most excruciating time of their lives. But, if they can stick it out and work through it, they’ll be free. They need your tenderness, patience, and forgiveness. They need the love and grace that God pours into you to spill onto them. This is the chance for them to separate their identity from that sin, and no longer be controlled by it.
If your sin has shown it’s ugly face, it’s not the end of you. It’s the beginning of freedom. Trust that God knows what He’s doing. This isn’t meant to destroy you, it’s meant to destroy what is killing you. You’re going to make it. You may not be a child, but you’re His child and He wants you whole. He embraces every part of you, even your worst, so that you, every part of you, can embrace Him back.
Hang in there.
I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. -Isaiah 58:11-12